The IBO Register of Accredited Business Members

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Historic Restoration Category

Encompassing organs of all periods and types of mechanism, the term Historic Restoration is used here specifically to describe work which deliberately avoids alteration of existing instruments tonally or mechanically, except in the context of a carefully researched and documented return to a specific earlier state. On occasion such a return may involve a degree of conjecture, based upon surviving contemporary material or documentation, and using appropriate materials or techniques. Projects which gain accreditation in this category will normally have involved: a) an initial written report with justification of the approach to be taken; b) a written and photographic record of what is done; and c) a final written report on the completed work.

Where renewal or repair of worn components is unavoidable, then materials, techniques and surface finishes as close as possible to the originals will be used. Practices such as unnecessary repainting and polishing of surfaces, avoidable substitution of modern materials for old, alteration of sound or of pitch, and so on will not qualify as Historic Restoration.

Although certain builders specialise in particular periods, these criteria are applied here equally whether in relation to ancient organs, 19th-century mechanical or tubular-pneumatic instruments, or organs of the 20th-century with electric or electro-pneumatic action.

Builders accredited in Historic Restoration will have submitted examples for inspection which meet these criteria, though the diverse nature of some builders' work may mean that they also undertake projects which do not fall into this category. Builders accredited in this category should make clear, in every proposal, the rationale of the work that is proposed.


There are seven main sections required to be inspected to succeed in this category. The significance of the details within each is that, while examples of workmanship may have been witnessed over and above, in every case these items will have been inspected as a minimum requirement within this category. A specific difference in this category is the requirement to demonstrate the mindset, through documentation, behind the work inspected.

The Workshop
Appropriate facilities for restoration work to be carried out
Overall approach to the restoration of this organ
Quality of historical research of the organ
Conservation of the original mechanism
Use of authentic materials
Use of appropriate techniques
Authenticity of replacement parts

Documentation of Work
Initial report
Record of work carried out
Final report on completed work
Photographic record of work
Restoration of front pipes
Quality and workmanship of repairs to casework
Timber surface finish

Tuning and Speech
Restoration of original tonal quality and balance
Appropriateness of pitch
Appropriateness of temperament
Tuning of flue-work
Speech and regulation of flue-work
Tuning of reeds
Speech and regulation of reeds
At the Console
Authenticity of console treatment
Appearance of console
All notes working promptly and correctly
Key and key-touch regulation
Key and key-touch response
Intermanual coupler regulation
Pedal coupler regulation
Absence of runnings and stiff slides
Stop control operation
Combination control operation
Swellbox operation

Instrument Interior
General cleanliness
Appropriate treatment of surface finishes
Wind system restoration: quality
Wind system restoration: authenticity
Wind tightness
Soundboard restoration: quality
Soundboard restoration: authenticity
Condition of trackers, wires etc.
Condition of rollerboards, backfalls, squares
Pneumatic touchbox, tubing and support
Action releathering: quality
Pipes and any pipe repairs: quality of restoration
Pipework staying and support
Tidiness of pipe-tops, tuners & stoppers